REAL ESTATE

Report: Another 75 Borders stores closing

BY CSA STAFF

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Borders Group is expected to announce that another 75 stores will be closed.

Mike Edwards, president, in a conference call said that the additional store closings would come from a group of 140 "bubble stores" that had already been identified for possible closings.

The bookseller previously said it would close 200 stores when it announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 16. At the time, the retailer said another 75 could be closed. The new round of stores has not yet been identified.

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FINANCE

Meijer to invest $75 million remodeling 10 stores in Michigan, Ohio

BY CSA STAFF

Walker, Mich. — Meijer announced Monday it will invest $75 million to remodel 10 stores in Michigan and Ohio.

Eight of the stores slated for renovation are in Michigan and two are in Ohio.

“We are pleased to reinforce our commitment to these communities,” said CEO Hank Meijer. “Our customers expect high standards from us, and our investment in these stores will ensure they continue to receive our best.”

Some of the remodeling projects are launching immediately, and all are slated for completion by the end of 2011, said Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi. Each will take about two to three months to complete.

The stores were selected based on their age and condition. The remodeling projects update the stores inside and out with lighting, heating, refrigeration and parking lot maintenance. Most of the technology upgrades are designed to make the stores more energy efficient.

In addition to the remodelings, Meijer plans to spend $25 million to build two stores in 2011: a 192,000-sq.-ft. supercenter in Stevensville, Mich., and a third “small format” store that will go up in the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park.

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FINANCE

Deloitte spending index rises in February

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index, released Monday, rose in February, driven primarily by the slight improvements in real home prices and initial jobless claims, according to the company.

The Index attempts to track consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.

“Despite the small gains in the Index, the recent sharp rise in energy prices could weaken consumer purchasing power in the months ahead,” said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist and author of the monthly Index. “The stabilization in real home prices may also be temporary given the persistent strain on the housing market. On the upside, should the slow but steady improvement in employment continue, it may help offset price increases.”

The Index, which comprises four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages, and real home prices — rose to 4.02 %, from an upwardly revised gain of 3.92% a month ago.

“Unsurprisingly, some retailers are concerned about rising costs and whether they can avoid passing them on to consumers,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and retail sector leader, Deloitte LLP. “Retailers should consider costs across the entire supply chain, from strategic sourcing at the back end to the technologies and analysis they use for monitoring inventories and product movement at the front end.”

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